L. Steeler: Vocals
S. Genozider: Guitars
M. Outlaw: Guitars
A. Axetinctör: Bass
G. Deceiver: Drums
"We titled our second album "Ghastly Waves & Battered Graves" because it's catchy, cold and metal as fuck," Vulture guitarist Stefan Genozider declares succinctly. This is not an overstatement. The follow up to 2017's cult sensation "The Guillotine" and their debut release for Metal Blade, the new full-length captures the German crews dispensing scathing thrash at a standard that places them toe-to-toe with the best in their genre. It is also a dramatic step forward in terms of songwriting and execution. "With "The Guillotine" we really restricted ourselves to reproducing our debut EP. We wanted it to sound the same, both in the actual music and sound-wise, but we knew that this wouldn't work a third time, so we sat down and talked about what was missing in what we had come up with so far. From that discussion, the overall goal for our second full-length was to get more variation in our songs, work out more melodic parts and allow ourselves to slow down a little here and there."
Working to a tight schedule so that they could make the limited window available to them with their desired producer, the quintet had no interest in penning a dozen or more songs and taking their pick and instead focused on creating eight killer cuts. Every song took time, the band not moving on before each was perfect in its own right, and this effort is very much manifest in the quality of the album. "Looking back on "The Guillotine" I still think it's an overall great record and I connect a lot of amazing memories to it. But we grew as a band and as people too in the time between the records. All the shows we played followed by this intense period of songwriting and recording push you to new heights on every level," says bassist Andreas Axetinctor. Songs like "Stainless Glare" are particularly overpowering, wielding a dangerous edge building up a lot of tension over the course of countless riffs and then unfolding in a huge melodic part, while "The Garrotte" - like "The Guillotine" referring to a method of execution - explodes in a big singalong chorus, and across the board there's levels of drama and excitement previously untapped. "The addition of [new drummer] Gereon Deceiver in late 2017 also marked a huge improvement in musicianship, and he became a great friend as well as an asset to Vulture," adds Axetinctör. The sound of "Ghastly Waves & Battered Graves" has also been augmented by playing in some unconventional keys and the addition of "horror synths", but every change is well balanced and suited to the individual songs, making for a rollercoaster ride with plenty of ups and downs. Horror is, in fact, a key element to the record, with classic horror movies and stories in the vein of maestros John Carpenter and Dario Argento strongly influencing the lyrics, with other influences drawn from the classic Bay Area Thrash era.
When it came to tracking, Vulture once again joined forces with close friend and producer Marco Brinkmann (Casket, Cross Vault) at Hellforge Studio in Detmold, Germany. "Overall, the album sounds very aggressive and cold, and our producer Marco once again managed to catch exactly what we wanted and mapped out a great mix that fits our music perfectly. There's a lot of room for all those small accents and hints, but it also sounds very direct, in-your-face-alike, if you will," says Genozider. With Brinkmanns' incredibly busy schedule, their only window for recording were ten days in August, which turned out to be during the hottest summer the region had experienced in decades. This obviously made for quite an intense process, but the band was well prepared thanks to the countless hours spent in preproduction and targeted on what they wanted to achieve they managed to finish up a day early. They also tracked a cover of Thin Lizzys' "Killer On The Loose" to cap off the collection. "Finding a fitting cover isn't easy but this track just clicks with Vulture," enthuses Axetinctor. "You have the lyrical theme, the ripping riffs and most importantly it's a great song by one of our favorite bands."
Eager for the record to be released to their faithful followers, the band will be supporting it with shows all over Europe, both at clubs and festivals, and with their first two-week tour penciled in for later on in 2019. Asking Genozider where he would like to see Vulture one year from now his answer is simple: "Hopefully exhausted from an exciting and successful year of concerts - and in the middle of the writing process for another full length!"